Solicitors have welcomed a much-anticipated public consultation on introducing ‘no-fault’ divorce, currently being prepared by David Gauke. The justice secretary is reported to be preparing a consultation on reforming legislation that is nearly half a century old.

Henry Hood, partner and head of the family department at Lincoln’s Inn firm Hunters Solicitors, said: ’Three cheers for David Gauke for starting a process that must surely deliver us from a divorce process that is not fit for our times. We have been here before of course, and there will be resistance just as there was in 1996 which was able then to prevent any change even after reforming legislation had been passed. That cannot happen again…can it?’

The Family Law Act 1996 allowed for no-fault divorce provided couples had taken part in compulsory information meetings. However, the legislation was not commenced by the Labour government that took office in 1997.

Mark Harper, partner at Hughes Fowler Carruthers, said: ’This is a huge step forward towards more civilised and amicable divorce, ending the need to prove nasty allegations of behaviour.’

Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said: 'Making couples attribute fault in order to end their marriage can escalate the differences between them in an already charged situation. So we welcome news the Ministry of Justice is to consult on proposals to update the divorce law. It’s time to bring this law into the 21st century to reflect the society we live in and we look forwarding to working with government to ensure the reforms are fit for purpose.'